16 Dec, 05 – 19:59
Latitude: 25° 44′ N
Longitude: 24° 23′ W
Miles from La Gomera: see http://www.atlanticrowingrace.com
Miles to Antigua: 2092
Miles in last 24 hours: 28

Two oars down, two to go

Oops, broke another oar. It was about 3am last night, and I was doing battle with some unpleasantly large waves. One particularly malevolent wave broadsided me and my down-wave oar got caught under the boat. There was an ominous cracking sound.

In daylight the damage doesn’t look too bad. The oar is still usable. But I’d better be more careful in future because I can’t afford for this attrition rate to continue.

The sea state hasn’t improved during the day. This is 48 hours now I’ve been fighting to get south, but the wind and the swells are conspiring to push me north. All I can do is mitigate the rate of northward drift. I could put out the sea anchor but I’m still making useful progress westward so I’m reluctant to do so. Hey ho, maybe Miami is nice this time of year.

I know the ocean is impartial, but there are times when I can’t help feeling it’s out to get me. Since breaking a second oar, when I see a particularly large wave approaching I now adopt brace position – hands down towards ankles, so my oars are as high in the air and as far out of harm’s way as possible. But just once in a while there’s a rogue wave – a wave that hasn’t read the bit of wave theory that says waves just go up and down – they don’t actually march across the water. These rogue waves definitely move laterally, and they mean business. They come at you like an express train, and often from a totally unexpected direction. Sneaky so-and-so’s..

These difficult rowing conditions are taking their toll on morale. My moods today have been as up and down as the waves, and about 1000 times today I’ve wondered why this ever seemed like a good idea. I know though, in my heart of hearts, that it will all be worth it in the end. But these are testing times.

Wind: 17 kts, ENE
Weather: dark clouds, rain and wind this morning, sunshine this afternoon, now stormclouds and rain
Sea state: rough
Hours rowing: 10

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